The ancient Greeks told a series of mythological stories about the gods, goddesses, heroes, and rituals of their time. One of the subjects touched upon was that of love and soulmates, as according to philosopher Plato’s, The Symposium, soulmates are two halves of the same person who were separated by the Greek god Zeus due to jealousy and fear.
The desire for humans to look for their other half is thus explained through the eyes of a hopeless romantic. Plato’s The Symposium included the speech of comic playwright Aristophanes, saying, “Humans were originally created with 4 arms, 4 legs and a head with 2 faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search for other halves.”
Aristophanes’ speech describes that there is a spiritual reason behind our yearning to always keep looking for ‘the one’. Keeping this perspective in mind, when this doesn’t happen, we tend to feel mentally and emotionally incomplete.
Plato explains that initially, humans were formed very differently than what we are today. According to the myth, Greek Gods created humans with two contrasting, yet combined bodies. It is believed that the two individuals were soulmates unified in one body.
These primal humans held unique characteristics such as being physically strong, mentally sharp, powerful, fearless, and incredibly talented. According to Greek mythology, the powerful beings tried to challenge the Greek Gods by scaling Mount Olympus, attempting to conquer and become the new rulers. This move angered the almighty gods, leading them to hinder the strong individuals to bring back harmony and balance.
Zeus’ plan was to strike the humans with his divine thunderbolts and eradicate them, but he was quick to change his mind after realizing that there will no longer be any left to worship him. So, to ensure that their devotions will remain, he decided to split them in half, making them weaker. This move came along with effects as it doubled the human population, increasing the volume of offerings the Gods received.
Today, love holds a different meaning, setting emphasis on vulnerability, words of affirmation, and sacrifice. However, with self-esteem rising and individualism on its peak, people have become more comfortable with the idea of being alone, not needing someone else’s presence to feel whole.
The ideal for many lies somewhere in the middle. Having a sense of independence as well as someone to share your life with makes you feel complete, as both the self and the need for companionship are fulfilled.